04/24/2005 11:00PM

Can Angara repeat huge run?


LEXINGTON, Ky. - If racing fans could vote on such things, surely the winner for Most Eye-Catching Run at the Keeneland spring meet would be a filly named Angara.

It was the seventh race on the April 16 Blue Grass Stakes card, and after the field of filly-mare turf runners turned into the stretch, the race was up for grabs, with four or five horses battling for the lead inside the eighth pole.

Suddenly, from out of nowhere, one horse came flying near the rail, and she rolled past as if the others were standing still. It was Angara, who had been 10th of 12 turning for home but wound up a 2 1/4-length winner.

"It was a fantastique race," said trainer Patrick Biancone, using his native French for emphasis.

That incredible performance came at 1 1/8 miles, and with Angara returning in 11 days, the overriding question is whether Angara can be equally successful when racing an additional three furlongs. Angara, with Gary Stevens riding again, will be one of the favorites Wednesday when the $100,000 Bewitch Stakes is run at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

, a British-bred 4-year-old owned by Martin Schwartz, will start from post 4 among a field of eight fillies and mares in the Bewitch. Probably her strongest challenger is Cape Town Lass, who looked sharp in winning a third-level allowance at 1 1/2 miles on opening weekend of the Keeneland meet. James Graham has a return call on Cape Town Lass, a 4-year-old Horse Chestnut filly owned by Dennis Foster and Raleigh Ralls and trained by Paul McGee.

Other contenders include , whose jockey, Edgar Prado, won it last year aboard Meridiana. Noble Stella ran second to Cape Town Lass in the April 9 race, and Literacy was second last fall in the Grade 2 Long Island at Aqueduct.

Ballistic Babe, My Dear Lady, Strike Me Lucky, and Stormin' Daina complete the Bewitch field.

The Grade 3 Bewitch kicks off the final three days of the spring meet. Thursday's feature, the $150,000 Ben Ali, will pit Alumni Hall against either or both of the Nick Zito duo of Seek Gold and Pies Prospect, while Friday's closing-day feature, the $200,000 Elkhorn, is the male counterpart to the Bewitch.